previous next

Doc. 84.-battle of Rich Mountain, Va.

Gen. McClellan's official report.

Headquarters, Department of the Ohio, Rich Mountain, Va., 9 a.m., July 12, 1861.
Col. E. D. Townsend: We are in possession of all the enemy's works up to a point in the right of Beverly. I have taken all his guns, a very large amount of wagons, tents, &c.--everything he had — a large number of prisoners, many of whom were wounded, and several officers prisoners. They lost many killed. We have lost, in all, perhaps twenty killed and fifty wounded, of whom all but two or three were in the column under Rosecrans, which turned the position. The mass of the enemy escaped through the woods, entirely disorganized. Among the prisoners is Dr. Taylor, formerly of the army. Col. Pegram was in command.

Colonel Rosecrans's column left camp yesterday morning, and marched some eight miles through the mountains, reaching the turnpike some two or three miles in rear of the enemy, defeating an advanced post, and taking a couple of guns. I had a position ready for twelve guns near the main camp, and as guns were moving up, I ascertained that the enemy [284] had retreated. I am now pushing on to Beverly, a part of Colonel Rosecrans's troops being now within three miles of it.

Our success is complete, and almost bloodless. I doubt whether Wise and Johnson will unite and overpower me. The behavior of the troops in the action and toward the prisoners was admirable.

G. B. McClellan, Major-Gen. Commanding.

Statement of David L. Hart.

Clarksburg, Va., June 16, 1861.
The following is the statement of Mr. David L. Hart, the guide to General Rosecrans' column at the battle, which was fought on his father's farm:

I was with General Rosecrans as guide at the battle of Rich Mountain. The enemy--four thousand strong — were strongly intrenched at the foot of the mountain on the west side. They had rolled whole trees from the mountain side and lapped them together, filling in with stones and earth from a trench outside. General McClellan, after reconnoitring their position, sent General Rosecrans with the Eighth, Tenth, and Fifteenth Indiana Regiments, the Nineteenth Ohio and the Cincinnati cavalry, to get in their rear. I went with him as guide. We started about daylight, having first taken something to eat, (but got nothing more until six o'clock next night, when some of them got a little beef,) and turned into the woods on our right. I led, accompanied by Col. Lander, through a pathless route in the woods by which I had made my escape about four weeks before. We pushed along through the bush, laurel, and rocks, followed by the whole division in perfect silence. The bushes wetted us thoroughly, and it was very cold. Our circuit was about five miles. About noon we reached the top of the mountain, near my father's farm. It was not intended that the enemy should know of our movements; but a dragoon with despatches from General McClellan, who was sent after us, fell into the hands of the enemy, and they thus found out our movements. They immediately despatched 2,500 men to the top of the mountain with three cannon. They intrenched themselves with earthworks on my father's farm, just where we were to come into the road. We did not know they were there until we came on their pickets and their cannon opened fire upon us. We were then about a quarter of a mile from the house, and skirmishing began. I left the advance, and went into the main body of the army. I had no arms of any kind. The rain began pouring down in torrents, while the enemy fired his cannon, cutting off the tree tops over our heads quite lively. They fired rapidly. I thought, from the firing, they had twenty-five or thirty pieces. We had no cannon with us. Our boys stood still in the rain about half an hour. The Eighth and Tenth then led off, bearing to the left of our position. The bushes were so thick we could not see out, nor could the enemy see us. The enemy's musket balls could not reach us. Our boys, keeping up a fire, got down within sight and then pretended to run, but they only fell down in the bushes and behind rocks. This drew the enemy from their intrenchments, when our boys let into them with their Enfield and Minie rifles, and I never heard such screaming in my life. The Nineteenth, in the mean time, advanced to a fence in a line with the breastworks, and fired one round. The whole earth seemed to shake. They then gave the Indiana boys a tremendous cheer, and the enemy broke from their intrenchments in every way they could. The Indiana boys had previously been ordered to “fix bayonets.” We could hear the rattle of the iron very plainly as the order was obeyed. “Charge bayonets” was then ordered, and away went our boys after the enemy. One man alone stood his ground, and fired a cannon, until shot by a revolver. A general race for about three hundred yards followed through the bush, when our men were recalled and re-formed in line of battle, to receive the enemy from the intrenchments at the foot of the mountains, as we supposed they would certainly attack us from that point; but it seems that as soon as they no longer heard the firing of the cannon they gave up all for lost. They then deserted their works, and took off whatever way they could. A reinforcement, which was also coming from Beverly to the aid of the 2,500, retreated for the same reason. We took all their wagons, tents, provisions, stores, and cannon, many guns which they left, many horses, mules, &c. In short, we got every thing they had, as they took nothing but such horses as they were on. We found several of those in the woods. One hundred and thirty-five of the enemy were buried before I left. They were for the most part shot in the head, and hard to be recognized. Some six hundred, who had managed to get down to the river at Caplinger's, finding no chance of escape, sent in a flag of truce, and on Saturday morning they were escorted into Beverly by the Chicago cavalry, which had been sent after them, General McClellan having in the mean time gone on there with his main column.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
W. S. Rosecrans (6)
G. B. McClellan (4)
David L. Hart (2)
Henry A. Wise (1)
E. D. Townsend (1)
Tom Taylor (1)
John Pegram (1)
George B. McClellan (1)
Lander (1)
Reverdy Johnson (1)
Doc (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
July 12th, 1861 AD (1)
June 16th, 1861 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: